A few summers back I was down the shore just for the day with a good friend and my two kiddies. We decided to have lunch at this lovely restaurant called The Columns right across from the beach in the beautifully Victorian shore point known as Avon by the Sea NJ.. We went in bathing suit covers and all, but then again that is the attire of the sea shore! Anyway, we ordered up this appetizer called a Caprese Tower, and I have been recreating it ever since.
Despite the fact that this week it is predicted that the northeast will be continuing the heat wave we've been in, our garden, although flourishing in all this heat, has yet to produc any tomatoes ripe enough to pick. Fortunately we are in the heartland of farm country here in central NJ and the roadsides are riddled with farm stands and markets with loads of fresh produce. So today I was out and about and stopped to grab a few tomatoes.
All you need is a nice ripe tomato cut into about 1/2 inch thick slices. Do the same thing with a medium size ball of fresh mozzarella. Pour some olive oil on your serving plate and kind of roll the oil around. Then grab some large fresh basil leaves which have been rinsed and dried, and begin to stack your tower on the olive oil covered plate. Start with the mozzarella then add a tomato slice with one basil leaf between the tomato and cheese. Repeat two more times and finish by topping your tower with a pretty sprig of basil. Sprinkle with sea salt and fresh cracked black pepper. I also added some balsamic vinegar to the plate so I could swirl each bite of my tower through both oil and vinegar.
For me this truly is summertime on a plate! Enjoy!!!